Just about everyone knows that the Ford F-series pickup truck is not only the best selling vehicle in Canada, but also the world’s top selling vehicle of any kind. Even in times when gas prices deter many people from buying large vehicles, the F-series reigns supreme.
The reasons for this are clear enough. To many buyers, their F-series is a critical tool for the kind of work they do and to many others, it’s a recreational vehicle capable of hauling people and camping/fishing/hunting gear over demanding off-road territory. Trucks like the F-series are incredibly versatile – think of them as fullsize SUVs with optimum hauling capacity and impressive ruggedness. And in the case of a well-equipped crew cab truck, the level of luxury can approach that of a premium SUV and in some cases, exceed it.
Our most recent test experience with this Ford was with a 2018 F-150 Lariat, an upscale trim level with just about everything a pickup driver could ever need either for recreation or work – or both.
Like all F-series trucks, the bodywork is manufactured from military grade aluminium alloy and one of the highlights for 2018 is a new 3.3-litre V-6 EcoBoost that’s smaller and lighter than the earlier (3.5-litre) unit, but more powerful and with better fuel efficiency thanks to wide-ranging technology upgrades. F-series buyers can also opt for various other engines, including a 5.0-litre V-8 and a 3.0-litre V-6 diesel. The 3.3-litre six is certain to become the most popular engine in the range thanks to its responsiveness and fuel economy. For buyers with serious hauling in mind, the choice would probably be the V-8 or the diesel. Incidentally, the F-150 comes with a 10-speed automatic (yes, ten!) that is a segment first. All models have an auto stop-start system to conserve fuel.
Our 4WD Lariat was equipped with Ford’s 2.7-litre, 6-cylinder, EcoBoost twin turbo rather than the new 3.3, but horsepower has been boosted to an impressive 325. Torque is even more impressive at 400 ft-lb. It drives very much like a V-8 but is, of course, more fuel-efficient.
The cab of the Lariat is very plush and much like a high-end luxury SUV. The vehicle lacked absolutely nothing when it came to equipment and trim level. The quality is exceptional with every component fitting just the way it should. We were also impressed that Ford now offers factory options that were once the preserve of aftermarket suppliers – practical features like power-extending running boards and a spray-in bed liner.
Also worth mentioning was a nifty new trailer hitching/backup assistant. The parameters for your particular trailer can be stored electronically and the system remembers how to handle it, including reversing manoeuvres.
Pickups fitted out to the high level of our Lariat are by no means inexpensive but buyers in this class expect to pay prices exceeding $70,000. Far more basic F-150s cost less than half as much, but still have many of the practical features of the fancier rigs.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: 4-door crew cab pickup truck
ENGINE: Various choices, including a new 3.3-litre V-6
TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic
TOWING CAPACITY: The F-150 will haul up to 13,200-lbs with appropriate engine and tow package
FUEL ECONOMY: 10.8-litres/100 km combined (2.7)
PRICE: $73,699 as tested. Base F-150 around $30,500 MSRP